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County opts out of certifying IDs for voting

The county will not get into the business of certifying its employee IDs to be used as an accepted form of photo ID for voting.

North Carolina’s Voter ID law, passed last December, requires voters to provide photo ID when voting in person, and allows for several valid forms of photo identification to be presented, including local government ID cards. The county recently was given the option by the State Board of Elections to have county employee IDs certified as accepted photo ID, but only after meeting a list of requirements, including confirmation of Social Security numbers, citizenship status and birthdates and that the equipment used to produce employee IDs be kept in a secure location, among other requirements.

“It was a voluntary program from the State Board of Elections, and there were potentially some more security measures that could come out of it,” said Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood. “The language in the letter that came from the state board led me to believe that there would be some additional security measures down the line.”

Alligood said all county employees are already required to have driver’s licenses, therefore they already have a variant of photo ID that would be accepted to prove identity when voting in person.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners was split along party lines for the vote, with Democrats Ed Booth and Jerry Langley voting to participate and Republicans Gary Brinn, Stan Deatherage, Jerry Evans, Hood Richardson and Frankie Waters voting to opt out.

The requirement to present photo ID in North Carolina was initially supposed to go into effect for municipal elections in November, however that date was pushed back to the 2020 presidential election on Friday. State Republicans fast-tracked legislation that would postpone photo ID at the polls because the special election for 3rd Congressional District means voter ID would be required sooner for the primaries in the race, and all photo ID rules have not been finalized, according to Associated Press. Twenty-six candidates are running for the seat formerly held by Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., who died last month at the age of 76 after representing eastern North Carolina for 24 years in Congress.